When I’m having a bit of a run like this I sometimes find it difficult to call up that creative muse again. At these times I like to take the pressure off by doing some things I enjoy. This helps me fill up the creative well.
My favourite things to do to re-energise and re-connect with creativity include:
- Watching a movie or TV show or reading a book. Sometimes I might pick up something new, sometimes an old favourite.
I find old favourites comforting and affirming. You know what you are going to get! This is probably why I love romance so much – the guarantee of a happy ever after. At my house, we’ve just been working our way through the classic Star Wars movies. I know – daggy – but watching something that we love is a good way to remember why we write and what type of stories we want to tell.
For me, Star Wars covers a lot of my favourite tropes and themes. It is inextricably linked with a sense of childhood wonder and a sense of adventure imbued since the first time I watched it and the many times since. It’s like spending time with an old friend. The themes are around friendship, loyalty, love and the little guys triumphing over evil. What’s not to like!
- Getting out into the world
Nature and a sense of place are important to me when I write. Getting out and about into nature is one of my favourite things to do with my young boys. (Anyone who knows young boys will also know getting outside and being active is also sanity saving!).
Kids have such an eye for detail and the quirky things, so often they notice things that I don’t. Like those red toadstools with white spots, or a splash of rainbow in a puddle.
We were tramping along a lakeside recently and we found these amazing leaves. The leaves had been trapped between some rocks and battered by the wind until there was nothing left but a lacy skeleton. Pretty! And somewhere in my head there is a metaphor forming between that leaf and one of my characters!
Music is like a snapshot of emotion, of character. Songs are like mini-stories and I find they can often fuel creativity. I often listen to the lyrics, watch the film-clips and wonder, who are these people and what is their story? Other times I just listen for the enjoyment as I go about my day; either way I find music a really nice way to shake up the mood and fill that creative well.
I came across this song recently. It has tortured hero all over it! The hero in my current story doesn’t have blue eyes, but I think I can definitely use the sentiment. (Behind Blue Eyes Limp Bizkit.)
I’m a really visual person and so looking at interesting and beautiful things is another way I like to tap into creativity. This can be in nature – give me a beautiful sunrise or sunset any day! Museums and art galleries can be good too. I know a lot of people use vision boards or Pinterest to help them imagine their stories as well. A lot of my ‘fill the well’ things intersect as you can see – the picture above is sunrise at Point Lonsdale on an early morning walk.
As they say, truth is stranger than fiction. You don’t have to look far to find inspiration and things to pique your curiosity in friends and strangers around you. I find the weekend papers a great source for this – one of my favourite columns is ‘Two of Us.’ It tells the stories of two people - friends, family members or intimate partners. I find the exploration of what draws people together in relationships endlessly fascinating.
What do you do to fill your creative well?